What is fallopian tube cancer?
The fallopian tubes connect the ovaries and the uterus. Fallopian tube cancer occurs when there is abnormal cell growth in either of the two fallopian tubes. This is actually a rare condition. Cancerous cells may spread from other parts to the fallopian tubes but they rarely originate in the tubes themselves. Although fallopian tube cancer can affect women of all ages, it is most commonly found in those between the ages of 50 and 60.
What causes fallopian tube cancer?
Since the condition is so rare, little evidence is available to identify its causes. Scientists believe that genetics may play a role. Women with a mutated BRCA1 gene or BRCA2 gene are at a higher risk of fallopian tube cancer, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer. Those who are affected by fallopian tube cancer should be screened for breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
How do I know if I have fallopian tube cancer?
Major symptoms of fallopian tube cancer include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding, especially if you have passed menopause
- Unexplained abdominal pain
- A sense of pressure in the abdominal area
- Abnormal vaginal secretions
- A mass in the pelvis or abdomen
Keep in mind that having those symptoms does not mean you have fallopian tube cancer since they can be caused by many other gynecological problems. However, they are definitely worth a look into.
How can fallopian tube cancer be diagnosed?
Diagnosing fallopian tube cancer proves to be challenging. Your doctor will need to review your medical records, your symptoms, and then conduct a physical exam. A pelvic exam is usually necessary to check for problems in the vagina, uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and rectum. Your doctor may also order a type of blood test called CA125 test to check for the levels of the protein CA125 in your blood. An increased level of CA125 marks the existence of gynecological problems, one of which is fallopian tube cancer. CT scans and ultrasounds may be required for a conclusive evaluation.
What are the treatment options for fallopian tube cancer?
Until now, treatment options for fallopian tube cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. How much to remove during a surgery depends on the severity of one’s condition. If the cancerous cells have not spread out of the fallopian tube, a hysterectomy (the removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus) is in order. If the cancerous cells have spread out, surrounding lymph nodes and tissues may be removed as well. Surgery is often accompanied by radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy to get rid of any remaining abnormal cells.
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